Working in South Africa in 2010, Dr. Dalene von Delft developed a dry cough that just wouldn’t go away. Tests confirmed her fear; she’d contracted multi drug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB).
Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is an infectious disease, easily transmitted from person-to-person through the air. Of even greater concern is MDR-TB, a more difficult form of TB to treat, which occurs when the standard medicines stop working. According to the World Health Organization, South Africa has one of the highest rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the world, with an estimated 13,000 new cases emerging each year.
For the wife and doctor, an MDR TB diagnosis meant spending that Christmas alone in a hospital “isolation room.” Her course of treatment included drugs with very severe side effects, including loss of hearing, furthering her sense of isolation and despair. But Dr. von Delft was lucky. Through an early access program, also commonly referred to as a compassionate use program, she was able to receive bedaquiline (trade named SIRTURO® in the U.S.) as part of her treatment. Following an 18-month, multi-drug treatment regimen, Dr. von Delft was cured.
“We developed SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) to help address the critical unmet need for more effective multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment options,” says Wim Parys, M.D., Vice President, R&D Global Public Health. “We are deeply committed to global public health and addressing diseases of high unmet need, such as MDR-TB.”
Janssen is collaborating with Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF) to facilitate access to bedaquiline for the treatment of pulmonary MDR-TB as part of combination therapy in adults.
To date, bedaquiline is approved and registered in the United States, in the Russian Federation and has received conditional marketing authorization by the European Medicines Agency. The GDF, The International Development Association (IDA), and Janssen, are working together to ensure an appropriate, responsible, and rational introduction of bedaquiline following the World Health Organization (WHO) interim policy guidance on the use of bedaquiline to treat MDR-TB issued in June 2013.
“This collaboration will help to ensure access to bedaquiline and other drugs for MDR-TB for patients in need,” says Adrian Thomas, M.D., Vice President of Global Market Access, Global Commercial Strategy Operations, and Global Public Health.
Janssen Global Public Health combines the best in the company’s science and innovative access models with its core business strategy under a single entity to drive better health outcomes, improve quality of life for patient, and sustainably advance health care worldwide. It’s one part of the Company’s shared response to the world’s global public health challenges.
Johnson & Johnson has a Healthy Future 2015 goal to advance global health through research and development for neglected diseases and affordable access to our medicines.
From the 2013 Johnson & Johnson Annual Report